According to a recent report from Borrell Associates, U.S. companies will spend about $80 billion on search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing in 2020.
When you hire a trustworthy SEO company, you receive an enhanced website and overall better user experience for your customers.
And of course, your rankings on Google and other search engines should improve. All the while, you have more time to focus on running your business.
Some agencies provide more than just SEO services. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a company that provides you with the package you’re looking for in an SEO company.
Do you also want to outsource your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and content marketing? How about social media posts and email marketing?
Choosing a good SEO company is difficult when you take all of these things into consideration.
In a way, the SEO team you work with becomes an extension of your in-house team. You want the best SEO agency for your company and your specific SEO goals. Here are five tips for finding and hiring a trustworthy SEO company.
You already know why SEO is essential, as is finding an experienced SEO company to manage your SEO campaigns.
Though, finding a trustworthy company is as important as finding an experienced one. Good SEO does more than drive traffic to your business.
Good SEO builds credibility and trust. Your SEO team should build a strong foundation by way of a sound website that provides a positive user experience.
Customers find their way to you because of the credibility of your strong brand as represented by its digital properties. Therefore, your SEO company must manage your digital assets with the same trust and credibility.
As you begin your search for an SEO company, start with their own website. See which areas they specialise in. Do they claim to be experts in a particular service, industry, or geographic location? How long have they been in business?
Often the company will feature credentials and case studies for your review. If they’ve won any awards, those will be listed prominently as well.
While there isn’t an official SEO certification, there are several standard certifications that successful companies hold. Those certs fall into the categories of PPC and Analytics.
In fact, Yahoo, Google, and Bing have their own PPC certifications. Companies that hold these certifications have verified knowledge of each search engines’ advertising platforms.
One indicator of a company’s depth of experience is the length of time they’ve been in business. The older the company, the more opportunities they have had for working with a range of clients.
They will have a clear idea of what works for which industry. Knowing what types of work the SEO company has done in the past gives you a clearer picture of what they can do for you.
Integrity and ethics play crucial roles in any organisation. We don’t often think to research this characteristic independently from the others. Though, taking a moment to do this up front goes a long way.
In fact, it may be one of the deciding factors when it comes time to hire an SEO company.
As you look at the language on the SEO’s company website, examine it to see if they are offering practical results rather than too-good-to-be-true guarantees.
Trustworthy SEO companies stick with what’s called “white hat” techniques. White hate means ethical practises that fall within Google’s terms of service.
Speaking of Google, SEO is an ever-changing process and evolving industry. No company can guarantee absolute rankings because algorithms are subject to change. Everyone must adapt, and no one can predict what Google is going to do.
Ask the prospective SEO company what type of strategies they use. They should explain them to you in laymen’s terms. Ethical companies will answer your questions in this straightforward manner.
An SEO company that promises guaranteed rankings with a vague explanation of strategy is boasting false claims.
The company should not be touting what’s called “black hat” practises for delivering overblown results. Even if their website seems above-board, talking with company representatives can give you a complete perspective.
If your contact uses language that raises a red flag, trust your gut. If the team members you’re communicating with don’t reflect the company’s published values and mission, then they will likely be disconnected from your SEO goals as well.
Without a strong code of ethics, an SEO company may take shortcuts on work that ultimately represents your company. Black hat business practises risk your reputation as well as their own.
Don’t just take the SEO company’s word for it. Check out external customer reviews and ask for references. Contact references directly and ask for candid testimonials.
To find reviews, consult websites like Facebook and search Google. You may also want to check out sites like Clutch, Design Rush, and UpCity, where companies keep portfolios.
Clients also leave unsolicited reviews there, giving you a complete picture of the company.
Collecting references is another smart way to find a trustworthy SEO company. Ask the prospective company for clients they have worked for in the past. Contact those clients and verify your information.
Ask a few questions as to the type of SEO work the company did for them. Did they do more for you than SEO?
As you gather your references, you can ask for more than verification. Why not ask for some first-hand testimonials? This final piece of information from past clients can go a long way toward making your decision. Not to mention peace of mind as you go.
If you’re at a loss for questions, try some of these.
What did you appreciate most about this company?
What is one thing you thought the SEO company could have done differently
Have you worked with an SEO company other than this one?
How well did this SEO company understand your industry? Your company’s SEO goals?
When hiring a good SEO company, comb through their portfolio and case studies. You will get a better sense of their style as well as their delivered results. Also, note how they may have integrated other services with SEO. Some examples are social media, web design, and PPC.
If they don’t have a portfolio already published online (they should!), request one. This way, you can look at examples of work that’s representative of the services you want.
You’ll be able to get a solid idea of what you can expect from an SEO campaign.
Pay particular attention to any case studies they have provided. Case studies give you a detailed look at the work they have done for other customers.
A good SEO company should have case studies on-hand for prospective clients.
The case studies highlight a company’s work. They provide definitive examples of their performance, thus validating their skills and expertise. Case studies are proof that the company can deliver positive results.
By now you’ve poured through the SEO company’s website, read the case studies, and maybe even talked to past and current clients. You can also research them through social media.
Social media is a significant component under the umbrella of digital marketing. Following SEO companies on LinkedIn and Facebook gives you a clear picture of how they handle their own SEO social media.
If they publish a blog or newsletter as well, subscribe to them both. How do they manage their own social media presence? How often do they post? And is the content interesting and relevant?
Social media is informal by nature. Though, the tone should be both casual as well as professional. One thing to keep in mind, their audience on social media platforms includes other marketing professionals.
So, much of the content will be written towards that audience. Regardless, you’ll be able to get an idea of the company’s professionalism and priorities through their social media presence.
Notice that all five of these tips don’t mention fees and contracts. Of course, that’s something to discuss during a consultation. Though, it’s a wasted discussion if you get this far without doing your homework first.
Once you narrow your choice down to a select few SEO companies, cost then comes into play. Finding a trustworthy SEO company makes all the difference. You can be comfortable handing the reigns over to them for your digital marketing needs.
The best SEO agency is the one who understands your SEO goals and has the experience to help you reach them.
If you found these five tips helpful, visit our blog again for more articles about SEO.